Story crossing

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Lucretia has posted this over in Carrotville, so I thought why the hell not. I haven't distinguished between the seperate parts here, as I think the interesting part of the challenge is in attempting to mirror someone else's style, to see how well it holds together. Feel free to continue the story on your blog, or in the comments, or to even continue from where Lucretia left off (though if you choose that option, please let her know on her blog). Like a good little nerd, I've sciencefictionalised her initial idea, so I won't be offended if you follow on her beginning, I'll just be left by the wayside, a shivering, sniveling reject, seeking solace from the rain.............. So if you'll ignore that last pathetic plea, let's begin: * * * * * * * * * * It was hot and sticky inside the club, the air hung thick with smoke. Overhead lights threw a sickly, seedy pink hue over everything. Mike was stoned. Way too stoned. And now he was drunk. Very drunk. He leant heavily against the grimy bar counter, the stench of stale urine from the nearby public toilet hung in the air and clung to the walls, insidiously working its way into his nostrils. He grimaced and attempted to focus on anything in his immediate vicinity, anything that wasn’t moving. It was hard. People crushed and crowded against him, all trying to catch the barmaid’s attention. Faces became distorted and stupid looking. He sniggered to himself at the grotesque images around him, he hated it here, he loved it here. The noise and heat engulfed him and for a few moments he felt almost happy, blanketed in the common bond he shared with all the other restless, lonely, souls. Then he remembered where he was and almost immediately, the blackness came rushing back into his head. He gave up trying to focus on the people and stared instead at the brown bottle in his hand. Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” throbbed suggestively from somewhere deeper in the club and a bunch of Goth chicks began gyrating in time to the beat, behind him. They were all drunk as skunks and teetering crazily all over the place. One of them lost her balance and crashed into the bulk of Mike’s slouching body, half rolling off his leather jacket. He wasn’t sure if it was deliberate on her part, he was past caring. He turned slowly and gave her an icy stare. “Oops, sorry!” She blurted, giggling at herself. “My mistake.” She stopped abruptly, taking in his violent gaze. “Chill, dude.’ She said casually. She looked about eighteen, so Mike reckoned she was probably fourteen or younger. Her face was plastered with thick white makeup; her eyes, heavily black from the Kohl eyeliner, looked like piss holes in the snow. She was wearing a black mesh top and no bra, her nipples poked through the strands of black string. He sneered at her. ”Fuck off.” He said in a menacing tone. He was so sick of adolescent girls. They were all so full of shit. Cock teasers and sluts. The last thing he needed tonight was a potential statutory rape probability “Fuck you too, shit head!” she spat at him and swaggered off unsteadily back to her mates. Her friends gasped in unison when she told them what he’d said to her. A chorus of “arsehole!” and “dickface!” assaulted his ears; they made gestures with their middle fingers. He shrugged and went back to his beer, glowering at the faces around him. The place was starting to close in, he felt claustrophobic. ‘Fucking bitches,’ he seethed inside. ‘I fucking hate them all. Only good for one thing.’ He continued to drink heavily and ordered another beer from the frazzled bar lady. ‘Geez, Mike,” she said, eyeing him warily. ‘You’re sure as hell putting them away tonight, hey? Slow down, dude.” She was fond of Mike, he was a regular patron at the club but she hadn’t ever seen him this tanked up, or as surly before. “Just give me a goddam beer, Claire and leave me the fuck alone with the lectures, okay?!” His voice was heavy with booze, yet even in his inebriated state, he managed to speak clearly. “I’m not lecturing you, Mike.” Claire said, uncapping the beer and slamming it down hard on the counter next to his outstretched hand. “Just take it easy, okay?” She tossed his loose change close to the beer bottle. “Give me any shit and I’ll get Bruce to throw you out.” She glared at him threateningly and then spun around, before he could say anything abusive. A crowd of people on the opposite side of the bar were clamouring for refills. She didn’t have time for arguments. Fatigue pulled at Mike, dragging him down. He tried to shake it off with a few gulps of the fresh, cold beer but it wasn’t helping. Bruce, the massive bouncer, had always been friendly but Mike knew that it wouldn’t be impossible to overstretch the boundaries and get turfed out into the street. Bruce didn’t take crap from anyone – friend or otherwise. Mike was getting sick of the place, sick of the babies, the endless parade of schoolgirls. ‘Why the fuck do I come here?’ He mulled to himself. ‘It’s not like I even enjoy it anymore. Always the same bunch of losers and wannabees. They all think they are so cool but they’re just a load of posers, trendies.’ Vivid images erupted in his head – he was striding through the crowded club, gun in hand, taking pot shots at whoever put a face in front of him. Graphic pictures of bloodied bodies and screaming teenagers, flooded through his mind. He was enjoying this day dream; a deep secret smile in his eyes, when he saw her standing across from him. His heart almost stopped beating. She'd been dead all of three years, but it was still a breathless fall to sobriety every time he saw her. Well, not dead three years, but died three years ago........shit, he couldn't even wrap his head around it in the cold, clear light of day, let alone with the fog that was currently loitering in his mind. He watched her walk toward the bar, a clinical stride that didn't seem to belong to her; or maybe it did, maybe the warmth he had always associated with that movement was the real illusion. As always, she was dressed plainly in a black garment that shifted unnaturally, almost as if the touch of her skin would leave some dread taint. "Michael." How could he bear to hear that voice speak his name, that as it had been stripped of any notion of intimacy, so was he stripped of the last vestiges of sanity every time he heard it. "You're looking well." She could have at least made an effort at candidness, but Mike reckoned once you'd been to the other side, sincerity was an expendable commodity. Who would have guessed that science would beat Christ to the resurrection? When they successfully brought that boy back 10 years ago, Mike had not an inkling of the impact it would have on his life. Why had she just not told him? He could understand the right of every individual to request the procedure, if it were possible, yet it angered him that she'd concealed her decision. She should've been mangled by a train, not that fucking pussy of an aneurysm that left her in such 'pristine' condition. R.E.S.C.O.R. He couldn't even think the word without feeling the bile rising in the back of his throat. You thinking of donating your organs when you kick it? Fuck that! Resurrection is the way to go, provided you have enough cash and have managed to keep yourself from splattering all over the pavement. Why no-one seemed to be bothered about the secrecy surrounding the procedure was beyond him. Could the joy of being re-united with a loved one truly blind you for so long? Surely they could see that what came back was like an image in a mirror, that something was lost in the transition? Perhaps that was why he hung out at the club so often; it was as close as he could get to the sheer desolation, the intoxicating loneliness of death. Here, he could worship at the feet of his beloved Mistress. He was sure that She would whisper to him Her design for vengeance against those who would dare defy Her will and encroach on Her domain. For a moment he again saw himself, gun in hand, blowing away these pathetic freaks. Rescor would have a bloody field day. He tried to straighten up, to stare the true freak in the eyes. "Kira, my darling wife." The sarcasm peeled from his voice like burnt skin. "What do you need this time?"


Cerberus

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Thanks to all who have continued passing by in my absence, I was hiding from the chocolate-gorging hoards over the Easter weekend and could not reveal my presence, even online. Work has fastened firmly to Sneddon's Corollary, which states that 'the duration of a long weekend is indirectly proportionate to the transience of tempers, patience and tolerance within the working environment'..........yes, I've been working like a dog (which is a rather bizarre statement since all of the hounds I've been exposed to over the years resemble hard-work about as much as George Dubya resembles John Kerry). I promise a pithy, pertinent and pointful post soon (that's for you, D), but I noticed this question over at The Beebox and found it a rather engaging one: Do weblogs confirm male and female stereotypes?


Looking back at some dead world that looks so new....

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The always compelling Beelzebabe read my recent 'pull the plug' post, and has posed a rather obvious question, one which for some reason eluded me and one which in a fit of jealous rage I now post here...... "If you were about to die and could listen to only One piece of music, what would you choose?" (For those who noticed that Beelzebabe redirects you back here and were wondering, yes, it is an ingenious plot to up our sitemeter counts)


A momentary lisp of sanity.....

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For those who recall this post, I mentioned that in cogitating over the Medusa myth on which Medha was based, I had also dabbled in a little background research. This is the link in question, which I thought in and of itself makes for fascinating reading. Yes, I did use the phrase 'in and of itself'. Get over it. That's all I have. You can go home now. Give me a break people! It's a 3 day work week.....you expect me to be creative at a time like this?!?! (title filched from Lucretia)


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"You've been listening to the adagio from Beethoven's 7th Symphony. I think Ludwig pretty much summed up death in this one. You know, he had lost just about all his hearing when he wrote it, and I've often wondered if that didn't help him tune into the final silence of the great beyond." - Northern Exposure Just for the record, so there can be no dispute, switch me off. Remove the tube. Unplugged. If God doesn't do the job properly. I don't want any arguments.


Just when you though it safe to go back in the water........

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You thought I had forgotten.......or perhaps that our previous episode had finally discouraged any would be 'purveyors of expendable wisdom'. I must admit that even I, your artificer of acrimony, was beginning to drop his guard. I was getting accustomed to an inbox free from contamination, but I should have known it could never last for long.......... Yes, my children. Gather round...closer......no, a little closer.....that's fine. Skrambled, move away from that rather fetching sofa.......anyone seen Fence?.......what's that Nome?.....oh yes, St Patricks day, we'll send a search party out for her later. Are you all settled? Right, Uncle Forgotten has a tale to tell.......... * * * * * * * One Day, A Man Went To Visit A Church He got there early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near by and the driver got out and said, "I Always Park There!!! You Took My Place!!!" The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's My Seat!!! You Took My Place!!!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. After Sunday School, the Visitor Went Into The Sanctuary And Sat Down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's Where I Always Sit!!! You Took My Place!!!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing. Later As The Congregation Was Praying For Christ To Dwell Among Them, The Visitor Stood Up, And His Appearance Began To Change. Horrible Scars Became Visible On His Hands And On His Sandaled Feet. Someone From The Congregation Noticed Him And Called Out, "What Happened To You?" The Visitor Replied, As His Hat Became A Crown Of Thorns, And A Tear Fell From His Eye, "I Took Your Place." When You Receive This, Say A Prayer. That's All You Have To Do. There Is Nothing Attached This Is Powerful. Just Send This To Four People, And See What Happens On The Fourth Day. Maybe, Just Maybe, We Can Get The World To Start Thinking of Who Took Our Place. Do Not Break This, Please. * * * * * * * * Now, now. One at a time please. I can't hear anything if you all shout at once........ "Do not break this, please." - Oh, I'm breaking it, I'm breaking the hell out of it.


Happy Child

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To the Queen of the Universe, from whom I received a delightful package today.

It is my fervent wish that one day this

will transport you here

where God

will perform for you and return the colour to your world.


Without a governing design.......

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I was really overwhelmed by the response to my 15minute challenge. What was initially a test to see whether JP and Banzai are really that damn good (which for the record, they are), turned into a humbling experience; it's never easy to have one's writing scrutinized by others, that you would all be so willing to contribute is indeed greatly appreciated. Moving right along, I proudly present to you, Conversational Terrorism! Now you too can utilise the winning technics of such icons as the US President, tv evangelists and members of the intellectual elite. Also, I can't quite decide whether I think this is a really interesting idea or an unintentional vessel for the voyeurs of society to get their kicks. Link via Parenthesis, who is evidently leaving us for a while. I wish her strength and wisdom for whatever it is that she needs to tackle. Come back to us soon.


The Challenge

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As promised earlier, for JP, Banzai or anyone else who would like to participate, the 15 minute challenge. For the uninitiated, which includes me, the test is to base a 15 minute piece on the following photo by Joel-Peter Witkin. Here is my attempt, though I should be disqualified 'cause it took me 20 minutes to write and about a half-hour to research, but the idea came unbidden and I could not close the door. Medha I will no longer tolerate your eyes upon me Your throw-away fascination Your dissembling sincerity. Would that I could truly turn you to stone One scream and your sophistic notions crumble to dust. I am the daughter of Phorcys Yet you have woven for me a cloak of imposture Threaded through my skin. I am worthy enough to be defiled By the God of the Sea. Yet I bleed from a wound you cannot see And for this you curse me as holy dread Witch-woman in league with the moon. But it is only my battle wound And as the bloodflow will at last dissipate So will my patience. When the sun breathes his last It is I who will replace him. Then will I reveal myself as I first was A conflagration to sear the skin from your bones. And the cracks in the earth from the fall of the moon Will be your only place to hide


In the beginning was the word.......

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"She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon."

That, dear readers, was the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2004, where "entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels". Click here to see the runners-up, winners of the 'It was a dark and stormy night' category as well as the dishonorable mentions and unintentional submissions, which include such gems as "The knife handle jutted from her chest like one of the plastic pop-up timers in a frozen turkey, but from the blood pooling around the wound, it was apparent that this bird wasn't done." and "After several minutes, Detective Wilson, standing over the lifeless, tuxedo-clad corpse, the spandex tights it had been strangled with still around its neck, realized that the poor ringmaster had simply been a victim of circus dancers." And, my dear D, I dare you not to splutter over this one:

"Where to hide?" was Ovinia's only thought as she raced madly across the field outside Aberdeen and up a grassy incline, frantically seeking escape from the man who was hell-bent on possessing her, on making her his and his alone, having succumbed to her beauty, drawn into near madness by the watery depths of her brown eyes and lured by the exotic perfume of lanolin and newly-mown hay which wafted from her thick coat as she grazed."

I've also decided that should you, dear readers, decide you are capable of better, please post your submissions. I shall even declare a winner and bestow upon him/her a suitable reward which I have not yet thought about, but it will be something appropriate.


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It would seem that blogger needs a weekend break almost as much as I do. The endurance required to try and post or comment at present supersedes that of a half-marathon. Which is a pity, because I have been issued a challenge by Fence, and am cultivating the intention of issuing a 15 minute challenge to JP and Banzai. So until Blogger recovers, I leave you with a quote for the weekend, as well as the hope that you all will enjoy a splendid one. "To take a photograph is to participate in another person's mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time's relentless melt." - Susan Sontag


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I am pleased to see that yesterdays post went down so well because, as Livewire so delightfully phrased it, the trolls are continuing their square dancing lessons (though I was granted some relief when they broke for tea and hobbits) and to my great chagrin, the bastard of a day has a twin.....Wednesday be thy name! So you'll just have to be satisfied with further links, pithy sayings and general randomness. First up, in the spirit of yesterday's 'oldies but goodies', the ultimate Smithsonian letter. The Lizard King continues his countdown of the top 100 mofo's of all time with no.42: Bill Hicks. 'No one ever died for a flag. They died for what the flag represents, in this case freedom... which includes the freedom to burn the fucking flag.' Nome finds herself involved in one of the more eloquent, open minded and intelligent debates regarding Bush and everything associated with that name; check out her posts from the unpundit and paint-by-number politics......and keep an eye out for my friend Shaun's astute comments. Banzai Cat is desperately hoping that his gifted writer friend will not throw in the towel, so I encourage you to bombard him with words of encouragement to convey to her. With some of the plodding and ugly writing available on the shelves these days, we need all the fresh talent we can find! I truly intend to post something of substance soon, must just wait for the trolls to be evicted.......and I'm also just too busy emailing all you bloody incredible people!!!!


Riffs as thick as wet cement...

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My head feels as if Kyuss have set up a desert session inside. Generator humming, they pump the blood through my veins.....set off random bursts of light that pulse when I close my eyes.... ....roughly translated, I have the mother of all headaches and it's been one bastard of a day, so although you've probably seen these a thousand times, I thought I'd at least try and get someone to smile today: Things you would never know if it weren't for the movies... Large, loft apartments in New York City are plentiful and affordable, even if the tenants are unemployed. One of a pair of identical twins is evil. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry about which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one. It doesn't matter if you are greatly outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts. Your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one... dancing around in a threatening manner until you have dispatched their predecessors. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible but slightly blue. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to be a world-famous expert on nuclear fission, dinosaurs, hieroglyphics, or anything else, at the age of 22. Honest and hard-working policemen are usually gunned down a day or two before retirement. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their enemies using complex machinery involving fuses, deadly gasses, lasers, buzz saws and hungry sharks, all of which will give their captives at least 20 minutes to escape. During all crime investigations, it is necessary to visit a strip club at least once. All beds have special L-shaped covers that reach up to the armpits of a woman but only to the waist of the man lying beside her. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one French bread and one bunch of carrots with leafy tops. It's easy to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down. If you are beautiful, your makeup never rubs off, even while scuba-diving or fighting aliens. However if you are overweight, your mascara will run and your lipstick will smear. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it is not necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do. A man will show no pain while taking the most horrific beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds. If staying in a haunted house, women must investigate any strange noises in their most diaphanous underwear, which is what they happened to be wearing when the car broke down. If someone says "I'll be right back", they won't. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel from time to time. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off. A police detective can only solve a case after he has been suspended from duty. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone around you will be able to mirror all the steps you come up with, and hear the music in your head. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure each is assigned a partner who is their total opposite. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.


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You are The Cheshire Cat
You are The Cheshire Cat

A huge grin constantly plastered upon your face,
you never cease to amuse. You are completely
confusing and contradictory to most everyone.

What Alice in Wonderland Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


The Vow of Chastity

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I suppose it was apt that after the plethora of 'nature of evil' posts appearing on this blog with regular frequency (or maddening frequency, take your pick), my local video store would finally have a copy of Dogville NOT already rented by that nameless fiend who seems to exists on multiple planes and always removes the ONLY copy of the EXACT film that you SPECIFICALLY visit the video store EARLY to rent. (when we all have a tad more spare time, I suggest we form a posse to hunt down and despatch that particularly nasty mofo) My first exposure to director Lars von Trier was Breaking the Waves, but it was only with Dancer in the Dark that I learnt of the Dogme movement and the Vow of Chastity. As divisive as this manifesto and von Trier's films are, both sides seem to agree on one thing: his arrogance. One side cannot seem to see past it, whilst the other seem more tolerable, as if it were some unfortunate yet impotent ingredient. Yet if there were ever a more suitable backyard for arrogance to run riot, is it not that of film? Arrogance often leads to a higher instance of risk-taking, as well as the absence of any doubts as to success. Results may often be unpalatable, but those failures still glide far higher than the mindless emissions that are released every week. This review takes what I think is a fairly astute middle ground, and this is an interesting summation of the Dogme movement. Arrogance and art: A match made in heaven?


Toffee flavoured nephews and condensed milk grannies.....

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I am shamlessly stealing this link from Lucretia, partly because it is a fascinating subject and partly because it gives me a chance to win the bloggie award for strangest title (when they finally realise they should introduce that category). If your interest is piqued by the topic, you can also visit the following: synaesthete synaesthete synaesthete synaesthete synaesthete synaesthete


Of glaciers and fallen angels.....

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I've still been trying to get a grip on my last post, but instead of the high school climbing wall, it's rather more a glacier, sheer face as smooth as glass. Was threshing (and I do mean threshing) around a few thoughts with the incisive Lucretia, but one in particular seemed to be gesturing to me in a way it has not done before. As often as a tragedy renders the victim incapable of living (not existing, but living), is it also overcome. Stories abound of people finding light were many saw only darkness. When I was a church going youngster, the church I had grown up in was attacked, leaving many dead and even more injured. And yet so many who were present now speak of the event with reverence, of how it was the source for so much good. And I'm not disputing that and I'm not speaking ill of the human capacity to transcend personal tragedy. The thought that has been twisting through my mind is this: If there is indeed a Creator, an omniscient presence, I don't think it a giant leap of logic to assume this entity is responsible for hard-wiring our brains to be able to continue functioning through high-level trauma. But when you think about it, isn't that just a little disturbing? That God (for want of a better term) foresaw the kind of trauma that would occur and thought, "Well okay, I'll just change a few circuits here and there, write a new line of operational code and hey presto!" But "Free Will!", I hear the masses cry. "God can't be held accountable for the sins of men." Let's just define this 'free will' thing that you all seem to hold so tightly to. Does a child not have free will? They make mistakes and learn how to manipulate and are the source of both joy and frustration. A parent may impose guidelines and institute a set of controls, but as is often the cry of parents around the world, you can teach them what you think they should know, you can ground them, fight with them, scream at them, love them; but they will still develop into their own person. That seems alot like the nature of free will to me. Yet I know of no parent who, knowing their child was about to endure unimaginable suffering, would let them walk straight into it. Yes death is a natural part of life. Murders happen, car accidents happen, planes crash.......I accept that and I accept that God cannot interfere with that. But what happened to that couple is not natural. And don't blame the devil either. A fallen angel who desired more power than he was entitled maybe, and that's a debate for another time, and he may be involved in a 'battle for souls', but to be the source of that kind of evil? I don't buy it. And for those who may worry that I'm off to slaughter a few kittens, drink their blood and get my freak on, don't. Skrambled is doing a good enough job for me. Although it may not appear so, I do keep an open-mind, and I'm not going to bash any who may comment from a religious basis. I'm just seeking a greater understanding. So if you think you know, please tell me.


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